It seems like the beginning of the 2011-12 National Hockey League season was a long time ago. Well, that because it was.
Teams begin playing preseason games in September of last year with the regular season kicking on October 6. Over the next few months 30 teams made up of some of the best athletes from all over the world would each play 82 games. Each would have the same goal in mind—earning the right to play for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Fast forward to early April, past 1,230 games and countless numbers of penalty minutes, and the 16 teams that have earned the right are set and ready to being post season play. Each would love to think that all they have to play is 12 games to get to the Stanley Cup finals, but each is more than happy to play another quarter season to do the exact same thing.
The Western Conference standings are as follows (with the first three the division winners):
- Vancouver Canucks (Northwest)
- St. Louis Blues (Central)
- Phoenix Coyotes (Pacific)
- Nashville Predators
- Detroit Red Wings
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Los Angeles Kings
- San Jose Sharks
The Eastern Conference standings are as follows (with the first three the division winners):
- New York Rangers (Atlantic)
- Boston Bruins (Northeast)
- Florida Panthers (Southeast)
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Philadelphia Flyers
- New Jersey Red Devils
- Washington Capitals
- Ottawa Senators
When the playoffs do start it will be in the traditional format, highest seed playing the lowest seed with the winners of each best of seven series moving on to the semifinals.
Will Boston defend its title? Will the Rangers win their first cup since ’94? Can Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby lead the Penguins to the promise land? Are we destined for more riots in Vancouver (win or lose)?
The action kicks off on Wednesday with the Flyers and Penguins facing off at 7:30 PM ET on the NBC Sports Network.
Article by Travis Pulver